Saturday, August 09, 2008

Office Space Anticipated the Aforementioned Obama Poster

Is there any issue. Any issue at all that Office Space did not tackle?


Captions Needed

Ummmm... I don't even know what to say, other than how proud I am of our Olympic Booty-Smacker-in-Chief.

Obama, Orwell, & the 'O for God's Sake' Category

O For God's Sake. Now, Harrogate thought it mildly amusing when, after the invasion of Iraq, Bush supporters began the "'W' stands for Women" tripe. But then comes this:

George Bush had his three-fingered W salute that supporters flashed when greeting him at presidential campaign events in 2000. And now, if a Los Angeles creative agency gets its way, Sen. Barack Obama will see fans meet him with his own salute like the one above. "Our goal is to see a crowd of 75,000 people at Obama's nomination speech holding their hands above their heads, fingers laced together in support of a new direction for this country, a renewed hope, and acceptance of responsibility for our future," says Rick Husong, owner of The Loyalty Inc.

.....Some are even begining to whisper that Obama's running mate is going to be one of the Aggie Yell Leaders.....

"You interlace your hands in a circle, the interlacing being a symbol of different types of people coming together and the circle a symbol of unity," he says.

.....But then maybe this stuff isn't so funny after all.....

"We want to see it everywhere, but more importantly we want this sign to take the world by storm."

As a human being, Harrogate is embarrassed.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Congratulations, Dr. Reads!

On Affairs and Love Childs

As CNN reports, Former Senator John Edwards announced today that some aspects from the National Enquirer's story from October of 2007 are true and he did have an affair with Rielle Hunter. Edwards still denies he is the father of Hunter's child though he has yet to take a paternity test.

The question of this "controversy" does not concern why Edwards had the affair in the first place. I do not care and I wish others did not care. Yet, since some people care and it would have an effect on his political career. Consequently, the question is why did Edwards think he could run for President having had an affair while his wife was ill with an incurable form of cancer?

If anything, he shows a lack of political and personal judgment. He show a lack a political judgment thinking this affair would remain undercover and would not be an issue conservatives would use against him. He shows a lack of personal judgment for the lack of concern he shows for his wife and family.

Imagine for a second if Edwards were the Democratic nominee: how would he have made charges of corruption against Bush but be liable for "personal corruption" in the eyes of the American people?

On a Side Note I: reports state that Elizabeth Edwards will speak at the Democratic convention but, after this, John Edwards will not be in sight.

Side note II: Talk Left has a post that discusses how Katie Couric interviewed the candidates on "infidelity" as a sign of personal character.

The sumamry of Edwards' answer:
Couric: So you think it's an appropriate way to judge a candidate?

Edwards: Yeah. But I don't think it's controlling. I mean, I think that, as you point out, there have been American presidents that at least according to the ... stories we've all heard, that were not faithful, that were in fact good presidents. So I don't think it controls the issue. But I think it's certain ... something reasonable for people to consider.

President George W. Bush Appropriating John Kerry

According to ABC News, Defense Sec. Robert "Gig Em'" Gates unveiled a new Pentagon Report concerning how to fight terrorism. The reports states:
"The struggle against violent extremists will not end with a single battle or campaign. Rather, we will defeat them through the patient accumulation of quiet successes and the orchestration of all elements of national and international power. We will succeed by eliminating the ability of extremists to strike globally and catastrophically while also building the capacity and resolve of local governments to defeat them regionally. Victory will include discrediting extremist ideology, creating fissures between and among extremist groups and reducing them to the level of nuisance groups that can be tracked and handled by law enforcement capabilities."

In this new policy, the Pentagon adopts the language of John Kerry, circa 2004... a language that President George W. Bush mocked. During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Kerry stated:
'We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

When Kerry delivered these remarks, the Republicans argued that these remarks revealed "Kerry didn't get it" as President Bush stated:
"Senator Kerry talked of reducing terrorism to - quote - 'nuisance' - end quote - and compared it to prostitution and illegal gambling," President Bush said. "See, I couldn't disagree more. Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level of nuisance. Our goal is to defeat terror by staying on the offensive, destroying terrorists, and spreading freedom and liberty around the world."

Bush-Cheney also went after Kerry for using 'nuisance' as pertains to terrorism in a TV ad.

"Nor can we think of our goal in this war in the way Senator Kerry described it yesterday in The New York Times," said Vice President Dick Cheney. "Quote: 'We have to get back to the place,' he said, where terrorism is 'a nuisance,' sort of like - and these are his comparisons — sort of like gambling and prostitution. This is naive and dangerous."

While this new report provides the proper definitional argument, defining the poorly named "War on Terror" as an ideological and not a military conflict, it is still a sad fact that George Bush adopts the vision of John Kerry, who was by no means a god presidential candidate, four years after the fact.

Does anyone else wonder if President Bush knows he is using the language of Kerry? I suppose that even if he knew, he would not care.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

And you thought the Democratic Presidential Primary was Bad

Last week Supadiscomama wrote a post about the need for an apology about slavery. In the comments, we discussed a Democratic Congressional Race in Tennessee since the person who sponsored the Apology Bill is a white Democratic who represents a majority-minority district.

Well, the primary race between Stephen Cohen, a white incumbent, and Nikki Tinker, a black challenger, has been brutal. In one ad, Tinker criticized Cohen's support for not removing a Monument honoring a Confederate, a Slave-Trader and a founding member of the KKK. While there are numerous first amendment issues involved with monuments, public space, and free speech, Tinker overlooks these to show Cohen desires to support groups that would terrify most of the people in the district. The juxtaposition between Cohn and the KKK figures is quite racially hostile, especially since the candidates are fighting to represent a majority-minority district.

The latest ad (see below) may be worse. Not only does Tinker race bait, she attacks him on the basis of religion as Cohen is Jewish. The ad states: "Who is the real Steve Cohen anyway? He is in our churches, clapping his hands and stomping his feet."

I also hate the pathetic fallacy over school prayer: "He's the only Senator [when he was a state senator] who voted that kids shouldn't be allowed to pray in schools." Rather than discuss the history of school prayer or the constitutional problems with it, we get "that mean old, white man won't let your kids prayer. Their eternal damnation will be his fault."

With commercials like this, it would be best if Tinker loses her race. Emily's List supports Tinker, which just reinforces their lack of judgment on electoral candidates.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sponsored by Krispy Kreme Donuts

After a two year visit to the United States, Michelangelo's David is returning to Italy...

Voter Interest and Campaign FInance

If you possessed little interest in politics, did not vote, and are not registered to vote, why would you donate the maximum amount allowed under campaign finance laws? And further, how could someone persuade you to part with $2300/ person or $4600/ couple?

I ask because published a story about campaign finance. In the article, the writer discusses numerous individuals, who are from middle-class backgrounds and show no political interests, yet they donated the maximum possible. All of these individuals wre persuaded to donate the maximum allowed by a political "bundler."

Either the actions of the bundler are not on the level, and there is not evidence that this view is correct, or there are serious flaws with campaign finance laws.

Obama and Anti-Anti-Intellectualism

Though he has not yet written this on The Rhetorical Situation, some time ago Harrogate realized that all along, his favorite thing about Obama by far is that he does not cede an inch to the anti-intellectual strain in our culture. Sure, he's as fond of soundbites as any of them, if not moreso than most. But whereas Kerry wore his associations with intellect as an albatross, Obama unapologetically reminds us that, well, most of the shit candidates for president debate is complicated, and success depends on our willingness to synthesize concepts, to use (gasp) abstract thought.

Here we get a perfect example of this wonderful quality of Obama's, although channeled indirectly. Townhall's green-blooded reporter, Amanda Carpenter, has the headline right: Obama Calls GOP Ignorant on Oil.

“It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant!” Obama told an audience in Berea, Ohio on Tuesday.

“They’re sending like little tire gauges making fun of this idea as if this was Barack Obama’s energy plan,” Obama said. “Now, two points. One, they know they are lying about what my energy plan is, but they are making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by three or four percent.”

Yes. Yes. Yesssssss!!!!! A great method for fighting the GOP affect of blue-collar common sense, point out it's only an affect!!!! Point out that proud ignorance may not be so much of a selling point for politicians as we may have thought.

(In a note of delicious irony that will surprise no Board Members, Harrogate neither has, nor knows how to use, a tire gauge)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Sign You're Having a Bad Day

Well John McCain, it is bad when Kathy Hilton, the outstanding political analyst and mother of Paris Hilton takes a shot at you, even as she contributed the maximum possible to your campaign.

It is much worse when Paris Hilton responds to your "Celeb" ad and sounds more coherent on energy policy than you do.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Stop the Presses--Kerry Really Can Be Funny!!!!

Okay, Harrogate has to post this, partly to make up for the rants he has levied against Kerry for the incompetent, even anemic campaign he ran four years ago. This, coupled with a desire to show the silliness of the outrage expressed by some over Kerry's quite reasonable refusal to withhold praise for McCain's military service.

But today CNN posts this on Kerry, who is campaigning vigorously on Obama's behalf. Provocatively entitled "Kerry: McCain is 'dangerous' for the country," the piece includes this discursive nugget, which shows that the caricature of patrician liberalism, John Kerry, really can be funny. It's a nugget that also left the RNC mightily pissed.

“I don’t know if you know this,” joked Kerry, “John McCain is looking for someone for vice president who has more economic expertise than he does. So congratulations to all of you, you’re on the short list.”

The Case Against Crocs: In Which Harrogate Renders an Ardent Tip of the Hat

Harrogate could not let this pass without enthusiastically awarding a Tip of the Hat to a good writer, an even better cultural critic, and clearly a man who takes his fathering responsibilities with the utmost seriousness. Yes, here's to Steve Tuttle, who has not given up in the war of reasonable people against Crocs.

Yes, I'm really, really late to the Crocs-bashing party. Really late. Plenty of fashionistas have written screeds over the years. But the damn things are still here, so this is no time to stop fighting. To quote the great John Belushi: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!"

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Wise Voice from the Past

Politico has a story on the potential Democratic VP Pick. For some reason, probably to stir controversy, the story quotes Geraldine Ferraro of all people. The quotes from Ferraro:

Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton supporter who in 1984 became the first woman on a major party presidential ticket, said Obama should be “gracious” enough to offer Clinton the vice presidency, considering how narrow the race was....

“If he picked Claire McCaskill or [Janet] Napolitano [or Kathleen] Sebelius, I think it would annoy women,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro added that “those are women who we spent our lifetime helping run for office” and that “a lot of us are not happy with these women for not supporting Hillary because they came to us for help based in large part on their gender.”

Let the Cult of Personality continue. At one point I thought sexism referred to discriminatory attitudes or holding stereotypical views on the basis of sex or gender. But thanks to Ferraro, I now know that women are the same, especially in their support of Hillary Clinton. If Obama were to pick Sebelius it would not be seen as an advancement for women or breaking ceilings but demeaning to one woman and most women would feel that way.

If there were other explanations, I would like to know. Her first reason may be valid as Clinton received the second highest number of votes in a Democratic primary. But noting that the selection of another woman would reinforce the notion that an "experienced" woman was passed over makes sense if Senator Clinton possesses the necessary experience in the first place.

And yet, Ferraro perpetuates what she is against...

The NFL/Reebok Commercial

The song is by Vashti Bunyan (Harrogate had never heard of her), and it is called "Train Song."

One of the most well crafted sports commercials we have had in a long time.

McCain Explaining the Race Card...UM...Maybe?

Last Week, I discussed McCain's awkwardness in an interview with CNN reporter John King about the use of the Race card. Well, via The Jed Report, it seems McCain's interview came back to haunt him while campaigning in Florida.

As this video shows, he cannot explain the attack he made against Senator Obama.

And the town hall format is McCain's best?

Rhetorical Strategies of the Day

Concept One- Perspectives by Incongruity: This concept, as discussed by Kenneth Burke in Attitudes Toward History, occurs when a rhetor engages in "Verbal Atom Cracking," and takes a word or concept from one category and applies to a new category (308).

This is an unofficial Obama ad that performs perspectives by incongruity on the McCain "Celeb" ad, increasing the ethos of Senator Obama through the ethos of Ronald Reagan and, in the process, diminishes the arguments of Senator McCain. As this ad reminds the listeners of the attacks on Obama by McCain, it situates them next to similar complaints employed against Ronald Reagan. The intent is to make you rethink the attacks on Obama since they were false against Reagan.

Concept Two- Stealing the Symbol: The ability to appropriate the meaning of a symbol and redefine it to one's advantage. By presenting the virtues of Reagan, the ad claims that Obama, and not McCain, possesses the virtues of Reagan, which is important to the "Reagan Democrats."

Another Pelosi Plug for Chet Edwards

CNN is reporting the Nancy Pelosi put in yet another plug for Texas Rep Chet Edwards for Obama's VP. He doesn't stand a chance, but he does seem like a damned good guy...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Anthrax, Iraq, and Religion: Lifestyle choices runnning amok

Salon has a good article on the use of chemical weapons in the US after 9/11 in order to incite a rhetoric of fear about Iraq.

All of this developed from the investigation, and presumed guilt, of Dr. Bruce E. Ivins who the FBI believes is the person responsible for mailing the Anthrax to journalists and representatives, killing five people in the process.

In the reporting about Ivins, someone found a few letters to the editors that he wrote about end-times prophecies. If these letters are correct, then he is a Dominionist, believing that Christianity should guide politics and law, especially in regards to the Middle East. It seems that the purpose of a war n the Middle East was to "speed things ups" and usher in end times. How narcissistic.

You can read the letters here.

Backlash from the Celebrity Ad

Political Analysts Kathy Hilton, the mother of Paris Hilton, responded to John McCain's celebrity ad. At The Huffington Post, she writes:
I've been asked again and again for my response to the now infamous McCain celebrity ad. I actually have three responses. It is a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next President of the United States.

Oddly enough, the Hilton parents maxed-out with their contributions to McCain.

The Olympics, Human Rights, and ... LeBron James?

8-8-08. Day one of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

I'll admit it right up front: I'm an Olympic junkie. I'm NBC's favorite customer. The sound of the Olympic theme song gives me the goosebumps. I love the competition, the national heroes that return for another try at the gold, the human interest stories that tug your heartstrings. I have a wild crush on Michael Phelps (known in my household as my Olympic boyfriend) and, when I grow up, I want to run just as fast as Allison Felix. Anyone else remember Ian Thorpe? Well, I have kept the flame burning these last four years; don't worry, he'll be back to compete in Beijing.

The Olympics, as solon and I have recently discussed, have--at least in recent (and I use the term loosely to mean the last century or so)--been political. To pretend that they haven't is pretty dishonest. There's always some group that has good reason to protest the selected location of the Games and this year is no exception. In fact, China's human rights violations--not to mention their sweeping unconcern with industrial and environmental standards--have got a lot of people, including this Olympic fan, up in arms.

Which is why I was so pleased, initially, to see the ESPN interview (done, I believe, in May) with LeBron James in which the basketball player spoke out about China's human rights violations and said he would use his celebrity in Beijing (a huge new NBA market) to raise awareness specifically about the situation in Darfur. James's USA teammate Kobe Bryant, having participated in a recent PSA about Darfur, was also expected to lead the team in public statements on this issue. But a recent interview with the players at a Team USA practice told another story. Nearly word for word, all of the players rejected the notion that they would use their international platform as a way to publicize China's violations. "We're athletes, not politicians," they claimed. Team USA officials and the NBA have claimed to have no part in this turnaround. But the millions of fans and billions of dollars in China hint otherwise.